Viva La Vacay!

Why Summer Vacations Still Matter | via TAPED, the ECHOtape blogAt ECHOtape, we believe whole-heartedly in the power of V… Vacation, baby!  Way better for our brains than overtime, time away from the office boosts morale, improves concentration and replenishes job performance.  Where ever you get your break — an afternoon in a hammock reading a book, a weekend beach getaway park, or climbing Kilimanjaro — doesn’t matter so much as long as you simply take some time off work.

In the spirit of adventure, we asked ECHOtapers where they were going this summer:

Why Summer Vacations Still Matter | via TAPED, the ECHOtape blog“We love the outdoors,” says Michael Gauthier. “In fact, my favorite vacation of all time would have to be our 2007 trip to Prince Edward Island (shown above). Two kids, two adults and two dogs (at right) in one little pickup for two weeks.  Awesome family memories! This year we’re all going camping again. My 6 year old daughter has never been. I want to introduce it to her while she’s young.”

Zuzanna Chudzinski is also rolling out the sleeping bags this summer. “This year, we decided to go hike the Malbaie, and camp and bike Pointe-Taillon! I’m extra excited for Pointe-Taillon because you rent out bike trailers, pack it up with your equipment and bike for 21km to get to your campsite with a beautiful waterfront view.”

No stranger to adventure, Zuzanna’s favorite vacation was Greece (shown left). “My boyfriend and I spent two weeks traveling between Santorini, Crete and driving all the way through the mainland from Thessaloniki all the way back to Athens. It was incredible!”

Patrice Laplante is letting someone else do the driving. “I’m researching late summer cruises,” he says.  “I don’t know where exactly yet, but it will be my first cruise.” It’s center court for Mauricio Acuna (shown above) who planned his summer vacation around the US Open Tennis Grand Slam in New York, and the UK for Deepa Patel. “This is short trip for my cousins wedding. Both the bride and groom are from different sides of the family — they are not related!! — so I  am very much looking forward to seeing so many family members.Why Summer Vacations Still Matter | via TAPED, the ECHOtape blogBut this is my second vacation this year.  I visited Barcelona and Ibiza (at right) just a couple of months ago.  Ibiza is known as party town but we had a complete different experience there. We rented a car and did some beach hopping, enjoyed the sunsets and the delicious food. I would go back in a heartbeat!

And last, but not least, Risa Edelstein is going to Isle Au Haut in Maine. “It’s a six-hour drive from Boston, but a very special place because we stay at a 1930s lodge that feels like you are back in that era. Not to mention that the hiking is incredible.”  Who else is joining Risa on Isle Au Haut? Her dog, Daisy. (shown above) “I bring Daisy when I can!  She comes with me to Maine and is a serious hiker.”

What are your vacation plans? Do you include your four-legged family too? Tell us about it via Facebook

 

What Babson Students Taught Us About Tape

What Babson College Taught Us About Tape | via TAPED, the ECHOtape blog

Last fall, we submitted a project to Babson College and we were accepted into what is known as their Babson Consulting Alliance Program. BCAP is a capstone project in which teams of Babson MBA students work with companies to solve and/or address real business challenges for 14 weeks. This past May, our team presented their findings. Here’s a recap:

Initially, we tasked our team to determine the key variables used to determine if a given residential construction professional will use specialty tape when insulating the exterior of a new home.  Almost immediately, the Babson team realized that “tape” is too broad of a term, and based on preliminary interviews with Babson Alumni and the Top 100 US Builders, they refocused on outsulation, or as we like to call it, continuous insulation,  specifically air sealing practices, trends and alternative techniques.

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Happy Canada Day & Fourth Of July!!

We’re celebrating the independence of two great nations this weekend!!

It’s a long holiday weekend for North Americans and we’re taking the weekend off to celebrate! July 1 marks the date the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada were united in 1867. And July 4th is the 241st anniversary of America’s Declaration of Independence from British rule. So, cheers to fireworks and freedom, family and friends.

Have a pleasant and peaceful Canada Day and Fourth of July,  and let us all pledge to work together for better days ahead!

Building Zero Energy Ready Homes in Warm Climates

One of the most common issues we get at ECHOtape is how to address cold weather problems — whether it’s getting tape to stick in the cold, coming up with a unique adhesive solution for sub-zero climates or how to best seal the building envelope.  Indeed, the simple fact is that homes in colder climates use more energy for heating than those in warmer climates use for air-conditioning. There two main reasons why.

First, there are generally fewer degrees of difference between indoor and outdoor conditions in warmer climates. In Florida, cooling a building from 95 degrees to 75 degrees requires only 20 degrees of change, while warming a home in Wisconsin from 25 degrees to 70 degrees means increasing the temperature by 45 degrees. This relationship is reflected by using metrics called heating degree days (HDDs) and cooling degree days (CDDs). These metrics reflect the amount of effort required to make homes comfortable by comparing the average outdoor temperatures each day to the indoor temperature setting. Madison, Wisconsin, has 7,333 heating degree days, while Miami has only 2,562 cooling degree days. (You can find average heating degree days for any city in the U.S. here.) 

There is a second reason that cooling takes less energy than heating: Cooling is always done with a refrigeration cycle. Air-conditioners have compressors that operate very efficiently, while heating is almost always done with some sort of combustion that is inherently less efficient. 

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Splicing Tape 101

It’s impossible not to take splicing for granted because it’s hidden in the smallest, most disposable objects around you. Take, for example, your favorite morning coffee. That to go coffee cup? The corrugated sleeve? Both made possible by splicing. The shipping box at the post office? Spliced. Foam meat tray? Spliced.

In the tape world, a splice is a process by which two rolls are combined using tape in order to create one seamless continuous roll. This is done because the roll of material is getting unwound and is going through some manufacturing or converting process to create an end use product, like a coffee cup sleeve or an Amazon box.

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The 5 Most Effective Air Sealing Regions for High Performance Building Pros

The 5 Most Effective Air Sealing Areas for High Performance Building Pros | via TAPED, the ECHOtape blog
Owens Corning’s Building Science team conducted a comprehensive 12-month study that recorded and measured where and how air leakage occurs in a typical home. | Image via GreenBuildingAdvisor.com

In a typical residence, there are nearly 5,280 feet of potential problems. That’s one mile of exterior joints that can leak air, increasing heating and cooling costs while allowing moisture, cold drafts, and unwanted noise to enter a house. The solution comes down to proper air sealing. Which means, air sealing has become a fundamental part of the home building equation. As building codes and Home Energy Rating System (HERS) targets continue to evolve, so too will the need for builders to improve upon their air sealing efforts.

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Putting Our Tape to the Test

We get this question a lot:  How do we actually know that it’s the right tape for the application and that it’s going to last? And that’s totally fair.  Almost everyone we know has a tape failure story, but pressure sensitive tape isn’t the same as what you grew up with, or even what you used five years ago.  Just as the cell phone in your pocket has gotten smaller, faster and smarter,  adhesive technology has gotten stronger and more versatile.

BUT… you don’t have to take our word for it. When a customer comes to us with a challenge, we actually test the tape for them and with them. There are two ways to do this:  Real-world field testing and lab testing. Ideally, we get to do both, but the bottom line is that the real world test matters most.  What good is a lab report when your building envelope leaks like a sieve, or your flying splice fail because the adhesive didn’t stick fast enough? Not good at all.  So here we’re going to walk you through the most common tape testing variables we use at ECHOtape.
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Why Air Barriers Really Matter

Why Air Sealing Really Matters | via TAPED, the ECHOtape blog

In order to design and build safe, healthy, durable, comfortable and economical buildings airflow must be controlled. Airflow carries moisture that impacts a material’s long-term performance, integrity and durability, behavior in fire (spread of smoke), indoor air quality (distribution of pollutants and location of microbial reservoirs) and thermal energy. One of the key strategies in the control of airflow is the use of air barriers.

By essentially “wrapping” the building shell, air barriers (a.k.a. air sealing) ensure that the building is protected from the effects of airflow and air leakage. Here are four tangible benefits to air barriers.

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What’s the Difference Between Air Barriers and Vapor Barriers?

What is the difference between an air barrier and a vapor barrier? | via TAPED, the ECHOtape blogAir barriers are an extremely important component of high-performance buildings. For the most part, these systems are non-maintainable, which means that repairs can only be made by removing the exterior cladding. Sure, older buildings can be retrofitted to improve air sealing, but the truth is: You only get one chance to get it right.

The same cannot be said about vapor barriers. Although the two are often confused, each has a very different function to perform in the building assembly. Understanding the core differences are paramount to building the high performing homes of the future.

What Is An Air Barrier?

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How Does California Title 24 Impact Builders and Contractors?

How California Title 24 Affects You | via TAPED, the ECHOtape blogCalifornia regulators have established an ambitious policy goal: Beginning in 2020, all new homes in the state must be designed for net-zero-energy operation.

Known as “Title 24,” the newest standards will go into effect on January 1, 2017, and set minimum energy-saving requirements for new buildings and renovations that will reduce energy used for lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, and water heating.

With tens of thousands of homes built every year in California, the energy savings will add up to big environmental benefits: for buildings constructed and retrofitted in 2017 alone, the CEC found that standards will cut energy use by about 281 gigawatt hours of electricity and 16 million therms of natural gas per year, reducing harmful carbon dioxide pollution emissions by about 160,000 metric tons per year. After 30 years of construction, the CEC estimates that these savings will add up to the equivalent energy use of twelve large power plants.

Title 24 is only law in California, but it often paves the way for new regulation throughout the U.S. The law covers many energy-related construction matters such as roofing, windows, insulation, lighting and HVAC systems. Here’s what you need to know:

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6 Reasons Why Contractors Should Choose Tape Over Glue

For more than 40 years we have been solving tape challenges around the world by engineering tapes for specific applications,  matching the right product for the job at hand. And after all this time our tape is still on a roll; literally and figuratively.  In fact, the right adhesive tapes can go further than it’s liquid cousins, glue and sealants.

Don’t believe us? Consider this: Adhesive technology has improved significantly over the past 10 years.  Thanks to science and engineering, 21st Century tapes are so strong, providing such high-performance bonding in such extreme conditions that tape is now the premier fastener used in everything from space vehicles to hurricane-proof roofing.

The automotive industry was, perhaps, the first to embrace the tape trend. Manufacturers have now replaced a large percent of fasteners in cars with tape. The result? Lighter weight cars with less punctures and holes resulting in higher energy (gas!) efficiency.
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Air Sealing and The Zero Energy Ready Building Envelope

Air Sealing and The Zero Energy Ready Building Envelope | via TAPED, the ECHOtape blog
Defining the Thermal Boundary and Air Sealing the Zero Energy Ready Building Envelope. | Image via ZeroEnergyProject.org

“Build it tight, vent it right.” It’s a phrase commonly used by high performance building experts to describe the two most crucial design tenants of energy-efficient home construction.

Without a virtually airtight, well-insulated building envelope, achieving the energy performance levels required for Zero Energy Ready Homes is nearly impossible without a massive investment in renewable energy systems.

The good news for builders is that getting the building envelope right is one of the lower-cost, higher-return investments when designing for net-zero performance. It all boils down to good building practices.

According to ProBuilder.com, to make air sealing your top priority, concentrate on insulation. “Focus on sealing the areas along the top and bottom plates, particularly around the perimeter in the attic area and along the foundation, whether it’s a basement, crawlspace, or slab, so that you’re not getting convective loops in your walls.”

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